Chat With a Mormon Online
It's safe to say I'm a nerd. I'm a Ph.D. student in health psychology, spend rainy days brushing up on my Latin, and am a pretty serious manual typewriter mechanic. I come from a big hockey family, and most of my childhood was spent skating, cycling, rafting and kayaking, climbing, or camping. My parents were river guides on the Grand Canyon, and my dad can best be described as a professional adventurer; I think he and mama put more miles on their tandem bike than they do on their car. I love hiking, spending time in the mountains, and discovering new places. I have a goal to try to see something new every day. When I'm not doing science, I volunteer for our local branch of Ten Thousand Villages (a pretty cool fair-trade nonprofit) as the computer boy and a board member. I can be a bit shy, but never regret getting to know new people. Because I work in an academic setting, I'm often asked by colleagues about how I reconcile what some see as a divide between science and religion. I can attest that the two are not discordant, and hope this page goes a little way to explain what I've observed in my studies of the two subjects.
I believe God is just. He is the Father of us all, & as such, it stands to reason that He provides equal opportunity for salvation to every person. When we look around the world, however, we see a wide variety of religious backgrounds & educational opportunities. How to explain this ostensible discrepancy? In fine, God does indeed ensure that all His children have an equal, fair chance to learn of & accept His plan for them--either in this life, or in the life to come, all of humanity will have the chance to learn about the Gospel of Jesus Christ & its Plan of Happiness. As an aspiring scientist, I believe spirituality may be studied like any other subject. It is wisely asserted that "Two truths are never at variance." True science & true religion both explain the universe in which we live. The difference is that true science is carefully discovered by the efforts of mankind, while true religion is revealed by God for our benefit. Dr. Frederick Pack (b. 1875), a professor of geology, outlines how the scientific method can (& must) be applied to the pursuit of spiritual truth. He writes that "some of the most highly educated people are willing to declare that there is no God. Furthermore, many of the people who thus assert themselves have never learned the first letters of the spiritual alphabet." He continues that "An individual can never become a specialist...in any line until he has thoroughly familiarized himself with the subject, & he must start at the bottom before he can begin to climb." The finest textbooks written on the subject of religion are the Holy Scriptures. You may already know the Holy Bible, so I'll mention the Book of Mormon, Another Testament of Jesus Christ. This ancient scripture was written by inspired prophets in the Americas. Near the end of the Book of Mormon, a promise states that any who genuinely wish to know of the truth of the book's contents may receive a personal, divine witness following a diligent study of its teachings.
I put the promise in the Book of Mormon to the test, as part of my application of the scientific method to my study of religion. Like many in scientific fields, I'm an empirical person, & the idea that I (or anyone) can know for myself whether or not the teachings of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are true really appeals to me. The Book of Mormon promises such a confirmation through personal revelation. The teaching that I can pray directly to God & learn to discern His replies rang true to me when I started to earnestly study the nature of God, & now that I have put the promise of the Book of Mormon to the test, I can assure you that my studies have been rewarded with spiritual knowledge, just as faithful students of chemistry or calculus gain knowledge in their fields. In brief: don't take my word for it. Instead, put the promise of the Book of Mormon and the Gospel of Christ to the test in your own studies. Our Church has missionaries who would be glad to help you get started. I attend a congregation of unmarried, college-aged men & women, which means it's never hard to find new friends & activities. This Sunday after Church services, we all had treats in the church-house gym & got to know each other better. That night, our bishop and his wife had several of us over for ribs and games. On Monday, we had a talent show--there was singing, a cellist, a rock band, and a girl who did animal imitations. (My talent was telling a story awkwardly, which I'm pretty good at.) On Tuesday, we biked to the park for a rousing game of badminton, followed by Kool-Aid, Tim-Tams, & bike fixing at my house. On Wednesday, there was softball vs another congregation. What I'm trying to say is that although I believe that each of us must learn for ourselves what God wants for us, we aren't alone in our quest for truth. I'm not a very social person, but I am finding lasting friendships at Church while I find lasting happiness through the teachings of Jesus Christ.